Alma Jacobs was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. At the age of 18, she moved to Atlanta, GA to study Civil Engineering. After four years of undergraduate school she began working in the civil engineering industry designing water and waste water systems. With 11 years of water and wastewater design experience Alma continues to enjoy the intrinsic qualities of her career. Her ultimate career goal is to improve or develop clean water and sanitation at a global scale. Alma is a yoga enthusiast and enjoys DIY projects around the house.
HOW DID YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN? I have always believed that the best way to get anything you really want is to get it by yourself instead of relying on others to hand it to you. I wanted to be able to give back to my parents and help anyone I could. I truly believed I had no other option than to be successful so I did my best to be focused and determined. I set goals along the way and as soon as I achieved one goal I set another. I have made wrong turns on the way, I have second guessed my abilities and I have tried changing my career. All these situations good or bad have made me who I am today. I never gave up.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE? My biggest challenge was believing that I was capable of being successful. I wasn’t so sure that I could actually graduate from University with a degree in Engineering and get an engineering job. I am glad that I overcame my doubts and continue to do so after working as a civil engineer for 10 years by not giving into my fears and having faith that if I try hard enough and never give up, I will succeed.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL? My father has been my greatest role model. He is a Civil Engineer who has worked hard all his life to achieve his goals. He owns his own engineering firm in Kenya. I was told that it started on our humble dining table over 30 years ago. Another quality I admire is his passion for helping as many people as he possibly can.
VISION FOR YOUR FUTURE: I would love to work for the United Nations advocating for two of my passions: Access to clean water and sanitation for all human beings in the world and gender equality not only in the workplace, but in everyday life as well.
ADVICE FOR GIRLS
On ACHIEVING YOUR DREAMS
Success requires focus and determination. Focus: Even if you do not know what you want to be, focus on finding out. If you do know, focus on achieving success. All it takes is one step at a time and remember you do not have to figure it all out before you start your road to success. I am certain that most successful people had no idea how and what they were going to be successful at until they were half way there. Make it a daily habit to learn as much as you can about what you want to achieve by reading books, asking questions and doing research online. It will undoubtedly put you a step ahead. Determination: Get up and show up and do not give up no matter what!
For GIRLS IN ENGINEERING
If you want to become an engineer, all it takes is focus, determination and faith. Do not get intimidated and know that it is possible for you.
On DEFINING YOUR OWN BEAUTY
My beauty is what makes me happy, what makes me smile. If it happens to be what is considered common and not unique then so be it as long as I am truly happy and comfortable with it. I have noticed that people will put themselves in an unhappy place just to prove to others that they fit in or hold a belief is better even though it really does not serve them. So for me as long as I am truly happy and content; I am beautiful.
On LIVING LIFE BEAUTIFULLY
Meditation, prayer, faith and family keep me centered in the middle of chaos. I pray and reinforce my faith in positive outcomes every morning. During the day I am in communication with my family who are always there to listen and give advice. At night, right before I fall asleep, I meditate to let go of what did not go well that day and to refocus on my dreams.
ADVICE TO YOUR TEENAGE SELF: Rome was not built in one day. Patience and faith are key in achieving great things. Important work takes time. Do not rush to achieve success, instead create smaller goals that will lead you to your ultimate goal. As you accomplish the smaller goals and celebrate each one of them, you will be less likely to give up.